Google announced this week that they're making some pretty important changes to one of their most well known search algorithm updates; Google Penguin. If you've got a website, no matter how big or small, it's vital that you keep up to date with the latest changes within the world of SEO.
Before we get into Google's latest plot twist, let's recap Google Penguin and it's history to date.
What is Google Penguin?
Four and a half years ago (April 2012), Google shook the world of SEO by launching a major update known now as the Penguin update. The aim of Penguin was to help reduce the number of websites who were using black-hat techniques to spam search results - more specifically, through the use of links.
Penguin worked by penalising websites who had a significant amount of low quality incoming links, usually gained from purchasing links or acquiring them through spam link networks.
As Penguin has, up until this week, been kept separate from the main Google core algorithm, it has always been a nightmare to recover from. Updates have been known to take years to come out, meaning that there was never an instant fix for a Penguin penalty. However, this week's announcement has changed the SEO world once again.
Penguin 4.0 Update
After years of waiting expectantly, Google rolled out Penguin 4.0 - a new, real-time version of the infamous update. By adding Penguin to the core algorithm, Google has allowed Penguin to update constantly for the first time ever.
From today, as soon as Google has crawled and indexed a site they can give or lift a link-based penalty - no more waiting 2 years for a chance to redeem yourself. This real-time update gives website owners and SEOs a quicker way to reverse the effects of a negative penalty.
The Penguin 4.0 update still removes the impact of spam links, but it's now going to start not counting certain spam links and/or it will weight other ranking signals higher than links in search results where a significant amount of the websites listed are receiving spam links.
How to View & Remove Spammy Links
If you start to see a drop in organic traffic since the Penguin 4.0 update, don't panic. Firstly, I'd highly recommend getting in touch with our Growth team for expert help & advice on how to remove the penalty.
To check if your website has received any unwanted spam links, you can view all inbound links to your websites through a bunch of different tools, such as:
If you do notice any unwanted links, firstly try removing them yourself if possible or contacting the owner of the website. In the unfortunate but possible case that you can't get the links removed you can use Google's handy disavow toolGoogle's handy disavow tool. Simply create a text file containing any links that you want Google to ignore and submit it.
Need Help Recovering from Google Penguin?
Our Growth team have lots of experience in SEO best practices and recovering sites from Google penalties. If you think you may have been hit by the Penguin 4.0 update, get in touch with our team to find out how we can help you recover.